<span class="vcard">Rob Dauster</span>

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NEW PODCAST: Louisville’s ban and who should be No. 1 in college basketball?

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It may be the day after the Super Bowl, but we still had plenty of stuff to talk about in the college basketball world on Monday.

There’s the question of who in the world should be the No. 1 team in the country. There’s the issue of the top two teams in the country losing to unranked opponents. There’s Oregon, who suddenly looks like they might be the hottest team in all of college basketball.

And that’s before we get into the issue of Louisville’s ridiculous and despicable postseason.

We spent 15 minutes on that before even starting on the games that were played this weekend.

As always, you can listen to the podcast by clicking “play” on the Soundcloud player embedded below. Or you can do so through either iTunes or Stitcher if you so choose. Thanks for listening!

WEEKLY AWARDS: West Virginia shines again, but it’s time to pay attention to Oregon

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks (24) drives past Arizona forward Ryan Anderson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dillon Brooks, Oregon

The Pac-12 may not be as strong at the top as the other power conferences in college basketball, but there may not be a league in the country that is as balanced. There are as many as ten teams that are still in the running for an NCAA tournament bid, and the difference between No. 2 and No. 10 is really not all that drastic.

I say No. 2 because, at this point, I think that the Ducks are the clear-cut best team in the conference. They proved that this week, as they mollywhopped Colorado in Eugene and followed that up with a double-figure win over Utah. Dillon Brooks looked like an All-American on Sunday, putting 30 points and nine assists on the Utes, who had the reputation of being one of the better defensive teams in the conference entering the day.

Brooks’ offensive arsenal is just silly, but his name doesn’t get mentioned in the same breath as some of the other stars in college basketball, probably for the same reason Oregon is flying under the radar. They were injured early and suffered a couple of ugly losses early in the year, to UNLV in Las Vegas and at Boise State. But they’ve won six in a row in the league (how about this run: USC, UCLA, at Arizona, at Arizona State, Colorado, Utah) and nine of their last ten. I think Oregon is Final Four good. Let’s see if anyone else picks up on it.

THE ‘ALL THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM

  • Brandon Sherrod, Yale: Sherrod broke the NCAA record of consecutive field goals made in Friday night’s win over Columbia, when he scored 25 points and grabbed eight boards. He had made 30 straight shots since January 16th.
  • Wesley Iwundu, Kansas State: Iwundu had 15 points, five boards and five assists in a loss at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, but he made this list for the 22 points and seven assists he had in the win over No. 1 Oklahoma, when he also was tasked with guarding Buddy Hield, who he “held” to 23 points.
  • Darryl Reynolds, Villanova: Reynolds had 13 boards in a win over Creighton during the week and followed that up with 19 points and 10 boards in the win at Providence. He entered the week averaging just 2.3 points with a reputation for being little more than the reason that Daniel Ochefu needed to play so many minutes.
  • Ryan Anderson, Arizona: The 31 points and 12 boards at Washington State were nice. The 22 points and 15 boards at Washington were even better. The road sweep that Arizona landed? The best.
  • Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia: Maybe it’s Virginia’s struggles on the road. Maybe it’s because they’re a “boring” team to watch. Maybe it’s because their pace keeps his numbers down a bit. Whatever the case may be, no one is paying near enough attention to how good Brogdon has been this season. Myself included. He was terrific against in wins against Boston College and at Pitt this week.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: West Virginia Mountaineers

Here we are, the morning after the Super Bowl has ended, and none other than West Virginia is leading the Big 12.

Seriously.

It’s West Virginia.

Not Oklahoma. Not Kansas. Not Iowa State. West Virginia.

And I know what your initial reaction is going to be. “A schedule fluke”, right? Well, no. Not really. The Mountaineers beat Kansas at home. They lost to Oklahoma in Norman on a tip-in by Khadeem Lattin at the buzzer. This week alone they won at Iowa State and beat Baylor in impressive fashion in Morgantown. Bobby Huggins has this team playing some great basketball, and when they’re forcing turnovers, crashing the glass and getting Jaysean Paige to play like an all-Big 12 guard, they’re tough to beat.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Michigan State: The Spartans are back. After seeing Michigan State go into Ann Arbor and work over the Wolverines, I feel pretty comfortable saying that.
  • Louisville: The Cardinals got rocked by the news of their postseason ban, and responded by blowing out Boston College on Saturday. So good for them. The win over North Carolina was nice, too.
  • Texas: The Longhorns kicked off the week by winning at Baylor and followed that up with a better-than-you-think win over Texas Tech.
  • Oregon: Like we mentioned earlier, no one in the country is playing better ball right now than the Ducks.
  • Maryland: The Terps not only picked up a win at Nebraska during the week, but they also held serve against Purdue at home over the weekend, which gave them their second top 50 win of the season.

SET YOUR DVR

No. 10 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, Tue. 7:00 p.m.
No. 14 West Virginia at No. 7 Kansas, Tue. 7:00 p.m.
No. 5 Iowa at No. 22 Indiana, Thu. 9:00 p.m.
No. 7 Kansas at No. 1 Oklahoma, Sat. 2:30 p.m.
Gonzaga at No. 12 SMU, Sat. 10:00 p.m.
No. 22 Indiana at No. 10 Michigan State, Sun. 1:00 p.m.
USC at No. 23 Arizona, Sun. 9:00 p.m.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL TALK’S TOP 25: A new No. 1, but how far will Oklahoma and UNC fall?

Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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We may not see a week the rest of the season with this much uncertainty when it comes to the No. 1 team in college basketball.

Hell, it may be a long time before we see another Monday morning in February with this many questions marks. Because the way I see it, there are at least six teams that can legitimately be discussed at the No. 1 team in college basketball this week.

It starts with Oklahoma, who was so far ahead of the field, at least in my mind, that they can legitimately be ranked No. 1 in the country again this week despite having lost a road game in each of the last two weeks. But there’s a big difference between losing at Iowa State and losing at Kansas State, so the Sooners probably need to drop.

Then there’s Iowa, who we had slotted in at No. 3 last week, behind two teams that, you know, lost on the road to unranked teams. So in theory, they should be able to scoot up to that No. 1 spot, but are we really ready to call Iowa the best team in college basketball?

Villanova continues to cruise along at the top of the Big East, as does Xavier, who is the only team in the top ten with just two losses to their name. Kansas is still in the mix as well, as is Maryland, who beat Iowa just ten days ago.

And that doesn’t even include Virginia, who has nine top 50 wins, or Oregon, who has eight. And it doesn’t factor in West Virginia, who is currently sitting all alone in first place in the toughest conference in college basketball.

That should just go to show you how wild and uncertain and open this season is.

[NEW PODCAST]

The NCAA tournament No. 1 seeds are a crapshoot right now, and they probably won’t even matter. I can’t help but wonder what round of the tournament will be the first where a No. 1 seed is the underdog; my money would be on the Sweet 16.

Anyway, if you’re just tuning into college basketball now that football is over, you’re in for a fun and wild ride, because you probably know just about as much as we do when it comes to trying to figure out a power structure this season.

Here is the NBC Sports Top 25:

1. Iowa (19-4, LW: No. 3): Iowa is the hottest team in college basketball, and while they’re not exactly a trendy pick here, there’s a very strong argument to make that they have the best profile in the sport. They’ve won 11 of their last 12 games, the only loss coming by six at Maryland in a game where there All-American Jarrod Uthoff shot 2-for-13. In that span, they’ve beaten Michigan State twice (in East Lansing by 19) and Purdue twice. They haven’t lost to a team that isn’t ranked in my top 25 this season. They’re all alone in first place in the Big Ten and, given their schedule down the stretch, could very well not lose until postseason play kicks off. This team is the real deal. Get used to it.

[LATEST BRACKETOLOGY]

2. Oklahoma (19-3, LW: No. 1): I was tempted to leave the Sooners at No. 1 this week. They have the nation’s best player, they’ve been the nation’s best shooting team, they blew out Villanova and all of their three losses have been in true road games. But losing two of their last four is not a good look, especially when one of those losses comes by 11 at Kansas State.

3. Kansas (19-4, LW: No. 4): That loss at Oklahoma State doesn’t look quite as bad now that the Pokes nearly knocked off Iowa State in the same building while playing without Jawun Evans. My issue with Kansas — their lack of a true go-to guy — is a bigger issue for the NCAA tournament than it is in the regular season. I think given Oklahoma’s loss on Saturday, they’re once again the favorite to win the Big 12.

4. Villanova (20-3, LW: No. 5): Their are going to be shouts for the Wildcats to be ranked No. 1 in the country, especially since they’ve won 12 of their last 13 games. They’re shooting better from three and, at the moment, they are currently sitting at No. 1 in KenPom’s efficiency rankings. There’s a valid argument to have them No. 1 overall, but personally, I’m just not ready to buy this team as the best in the country. Maybe it’s because they’ve burned me before, I don’t know. I’ll leave them at fourth for now.

5. Xavier (21-2, LW: No. 6): To me, Xavier is arguably the most complete team in the country in the sense that I’m not sure there is anyone that creates a bad matchup for them. That said, their best wins this season are against USC and Dayton (albeit by 29) and when they lost to Villanova, they lost in spectacular fashion, going down by 31 points.

6. Maryland (21-3, LW: No. 7): Like the Musketeers, I love the makeup of this Terps roster, but it just feels like they aren’t quite clicking yet. They’ve beaten Iowa and Purdue in the last ten days, but those are their only two top 50 wins this season. They’ve lost three true road games, but one of them was to Michigan and they haven’t show the ability to blow out opponents they’re better than. They might be the best team in college basketball when they’re rolling, but I can’t rank them there right now.

7. North Carolina (19-4, LW: No. 2): The Tar Heels biggest flaw was exposed by Notre Dame on Saturday. I wrote about that here.

8. Michigan State (20-4, LW: No. 9): Sparty’s got it rolling again. They’ve won three straight blowouts following that win over Maryland, and I think it’s safe to say now that Tom Izzo figured out what was ailing his team.

9. West Virginia (19-4, LW: No. 12): Who had West Virginia leading the Big 12 outright the morning after the Super Bowl? If you say you did I’m calling you a liar.

10. Virginia (19-4, LW: No. 13): Virginia might have arguably the best collection of wins of any team in the country this season. They’ve also lost to George Washington, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Florida State and needed a prayer to be answered to beat Wake Forest.

11. Oregon (20-4, LW: No. 18)
12. Miami (19-4, LW: No. 14)
13. Louisville (19-4, LW: No. 22)
14. Purdue (19-5, LW: No. 19)
15. Kentucky (17-6, LW: No. 17
16. Texas A&M (18-5, LW: No. 8)
17. Iowa State (17-6, LW: No. 16)
18. SMU (20-2, LW: No. 11)
19. Baylor (17-6, LW: No. 15)
20. USC (18-5, LW: No. 21)
21. Providence (18-6, LW: No. 11)
22. Texas (16-7, LW: UR)
23. Notre Dame (16-7, LW: UR)
24. Dayton (19-3, LW: UR)
25. Wichita State (17-5, LW: No. 20)

DROPPED OUT: No. 23 Utah, No. 24 Indiana, No. 25 Saint Mary’s
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 22 Texas, No. 23 Notre Dame, No. 24 Dayton